Hairstyles, Hair Care & Fashion

Cut Men's Hair

Q: I am cutting my son's (3) and my husband’s hair. They both have a tapered haircut with the hair longer on top and layered. I am having trouble figuring out the best way to cut the layers on top...I have tried cutting them from front to back (scissors) moving over about 1/2 inch at a time. I have also tried cutting the layers from side to side (scissors) moving back about 1/2 at a time. What is the best way? And do I need to hold the scissors at an angle or straight (parallel to the head). Thank you so much for this website. It is so helpful.
A: Okay. This is somewhat difficult because I’m not entirely certain of exactly how you want the hairstyle to look, but I’ll make some suggestions based on assumptions.
female hairdresser cutting a man's hair I am assuming that your husband’s and son’s hairstyles are generally longer on top and taper to shorter lengths as you move down the sides of the head. This is a safe assumption I think from your description above. The easiest method of creating this look is to generate the length guide at the top of the head and cut a perimeter length guide at the bottom edge of the hairline. Once you have the two extreme lengths determined, you simply work your way around the head carefully to blend the two lengths. By blending the lengths I mean creating the transition from the shorter lengths to the longer ones. It is generally easier to plan out the hair cuts before you start so that you have a game plan. (Be sure to download and print out our handy planning pages.)
The simplest methodology in cutting men’s hair is to follow these three steps: Cut your perimeter (the hair line that follows down around the ears and the nape area of the neck) create your top guide (generally by cutting the length for the bangs area and using that as a traveling guide cutting from back to front in horizontal slices) then blend the lengths.
To create the shorter at bottom to longer at top layering lengths, comb the hair into half-inch slices and hold the hair out horizontal to the floor between the index and middle fingers, creating an angle with the outstretched fingers. Cut the hair using the angle created by your finger position. Slowly work your way from the center back of the head to the front by using overlapping slices. This makes sure you keep the length consistent.
{Remember that the angle you use for cutting will determine how much of an increase in length occurs as you move up the head, so try to gauge the angle appropriately. If you hold the scissors parallel to the head and the hair straight out to be horizontal to the floor, you will create uniform layers that are all the same length, instead of getting shorter as you go down and longer as you go up.}
At the top of the head, once you’ve cut the bangs to the desired length so that the hair hangs to the desired position, you can use the bangs length as a traveling guide by taking half-inch slices of the hair and cutting the hair to that length from front to back.
When you get to the point where the top lengths and bottom lengths begin to meet you simply use the vertical slices as you move around the head to blend the lengths together.
As an alternative and if your husband, or you prefer a smoother look on the top layer of the hair, you can always part the hair as desired and comb the hair out and cut the perimeter shape around the top of the head. This creates a weight-line in the hair and you can then blend this top length to the lower lengths by tapering the hair as you move down the head. This works especially well with straighter and fine hair types.
I hope this helps.